Beer/Cigar Reviews – Santa Fe Oktoberfest, Full Grown Jack and Flor Del Valle Warped

Welcome to yet another edition of my beer and cigar reviews; we have another fall-festive lineup for you today so let’s just jump right in!

Santa Fe Oktoberfest

This Oktoberfest/Marzen predictably comes to us from Santa Fe Brewing Company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This Marzen weighs in at 6% ABV, 38 IBUs and the brewery is kind enough to give us the original gravity of 14.25 Plato (1.058 SG) as well as the final gravity of 3.2 Plato (1.013 SG), which is on the heavier side for the style in all categories.

Pours a slightly hazy bright orange color with a thin off-white head that recedes quickly. Aromas of caramel and yeasty bread. A big wallop of chewy caramel goodness on the palate. A little bit of the bread comes through as well as delicate piney hop and slightly warming finish. Medium to heavy in body and medium in carbonation, this one drinks smooth and thick but still light enough for a session beer.

Overall a more than ample Oktoberfest style beer; one of the better ones I’ve had. I’ll come back to it again. It went beautifully with the subject of today’s cigar review. Rating: 4/5.

Full Grown Jack

This Pumpkin Spice Imperial Stout hails from Tupps Brewing Company in McKinney, Texas. It weighs in at 12.1% ABV but an unspecified IBU and gravity levels. I’m a sucker for pumpkin anything during this time of year (including pumpkin beers!) so I was super eager to try this one and my eagerness paid off!

Pours a near jet-black color with slight streaks of maroon when held up to the light. Minimal tan colored head that recedes quickly. Big blast of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg on the nose supported by a hint of roasted malt and coffee. The flavor follows the nose – a big blast of sweet and spicy pumpkin with a hot cinnamon and nutmeg finish. This is supported by a substantial wallop of roasted, caramel and chocolate malt with a nice balanced coffee bitterness on the finish. Thick, syrupy body with minimal carbonation. Very smooth and easy drinking but a sipper.

This beer was rich, fun, complex and all-out festive. One of my favorite pumpkin beers to date. Very enjoyable, very warming. Went well with the Rocky Patel Royale pictured with it (reviewed previously). Rating: 4.75/5.

And now for today’s cigar review:

Flor Del Valle Warped

(Pictured above with the Oktoberfest)

This cigar features a Corojo wrapper over a Criollo binder and Nicaraguan long filler. The vitola reviewed here is the Cristales, a 6″ x 42RG Corona plus shape.

The first light revealed a perfect draw with plumes of thick medium/full bodied smoke consisting of flavors of a smooth, creamy earth and a very peppery/spicy finish and retrohale supported by a slight tinge of sweetness. Progressing into the first third the earthiness morphs into more of a nutty tone, consistent with Corojo-wrapped cigars.

Getting into the 2nd third the pepper dies down as the body settles down to a medium. The smoke takes on a creamier texture, a slightly creamy flavor and the sweetness amps up somewhat and morphs into a very distinct honey note. This remained consistent until the final third which went very heavy, earthy and the nutty notes became very dry. The cigar ended at one hour in for a very respectable burn time for the ring gauge and entering in a medium nicotine strength.

Construction was what I will call average. A fairly straight burn but a knot was encountered at the halfway point which produced minimal smoke for a few draws. This returned to normal after burning through it. Toward the end the wrapper went out entirely while the binder and filler continued to burn and required a relight to catch it up.

Whereas I enjoyed the flavors, the construction issues were very difficult to overlook. I’d have expected such a small ring gauge especially to burn better than that. If it was a 60 ring I’d have expected some issues. I don’t know what it was but it was frustrating, which is why this cigar gets a rating of 3/5 despite the very nice flavor profile.

So that’s a wrap for today’s beer and cigar reviews. Have you had any of today’s selections? Comment and tell me what you think!

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3 thoughts on “Beer/Cigar Reviews – Santa Fe Oktoberfest, Full Grown Jack and Flor Del Valle Warped

  1. I smoke 4 or 5 cigars a day, Mostly Cubans, but I’ve never had the palete to describe them like you do. T0 me they’re good or bad, and strong or medium and weak, and smooth or not.

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    • Thanks for your comment. To help you taste more flavors, I offer the following (and perhaps you already do these things).

      1) There is some “artistic liberty” going on in describing the flavors in cigars. Are these flavors literally there? Obviously no, unless the cigars are infused. It’s more of the connotation that comes to mind. Some examples include the aromas of certain woods up close (cedar, oak, etc.), the smell of a tannery (leather), a sweet bitterness (chocolate), etc. – these things aren’t literally in the smoke but the compounds in the smoke have tastes that conjure up certain memories and they get described in such a way.

      2) If you don’t currently, try retrohaling. It’ll open up a whole new world for you. Retrohaling is the act of expelling some of the smoke through the nose. There are a lot more receptors in your nasal cavity than there are on your tongue. Think about how your food tastes bland when you have a cold or are stuffy. Same thing in practice here. We “taste” a lot through our nose, and that’s where a lot of the notes described above really come to light.

      David Blanco of Blanco cigars has a very good tutorial on retrohaling if it’s not something familiar to you. Go to CigarObsession and look up “How to Retrohale.”

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